The University of Guelph has appointed a new dean in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS). Prof. Gwen Chapman of the University of British Columbia (UBC) will begin a five-year term Feb. 1, 2016.

The announcement was made today by Prof. Serge Desmarais, interim provost and vice-president (academic), who chaired the search committee.

“Gwen is a highly regarded scholar who has years of experience in leadership positions,” Desmarais said.


“She already has a good appreciation of CSAHS’s challenges and opportunities, and is approaching her new position with energy and enthusiasm that bodes well for the future of the college.”

In making the announcement, Desmarais thanked search committee members and the University community for their participation and commitment.

A UBC faculty member since 1991, Chapman is currently associate dean (academic) of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and a professor in the Food, Nutrition and Health (FNH) program.

As associate dean, she oversees student services, teaching and learning programs, and curriculum review and development. She recently developed a first-year intensive writing course and is helping revamp UBC’s student academic system.

As FNH’s program director, she oversaw a multimillion-dollar building renovation. As dietetic program director in UBC’s School of Family and Nutritional Sciences, she helped restructure dietetic education in British Columbia.

Chapman studies how norms involving food, health, bodies and social roles affect people’s eating habits and dietary concerns.

For the past 12 years, she has headed a $1-million family food practices research program supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, making her one of the top-funded social science nutrition researchers in the country.

Her research is also supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Chapman has published more than 60 papers and journal articles, co-authored a recently published book on family eating habits titled Acquired Tastes: Why Families Eat the Way They Do, spoken at numerous academic conferences around the world and commented extensively for media.

She won the UBC Killam Teaching Award in 2003.

Chapman studied dietetics and nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan, and completed her master’s and PhD in nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.

At U of G, Chapman will be a faculty member in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition.

“I am very excited to join the University of Guelph community and be the next dean of CSAHS,” Chapman said.

“I am impressed with the innovative, learner-centred programs and research accomplishments of the College and look forward to working with students, faculty and staff to continue to build on its strengths and successes.”